Saturday, July 31, 2010

Retro - but updated

It's not always about "shabby chic" or "farmhouse chic," although I will admit I have a very soft spot in my heart for both! But a few weeks ago, I found a dresser and a chest of drawers within a day of each other, one at DI and one at a garage sale! The price was right, so they had to come home with me.

I am LOUSY at remembering to take "before" pictures, so you'll just have to trust me that the finish was flaky, and the hardware was that yucky brassy/gold color. The dresser had a darker reddish finish, while the chest of drawers was almost blond. However, they both had some pretty curved drawers, so I thought they would look great as a set.

The dresser is my favorite.

Not sure why the third drawer looks so smudgy. That could be fingerprints from a two-year-old.

The top two drawers on the chest had double-bow fronts.

Did you notice how I said "had"? Here's the sad story.

A lovely couple came to look at them, and decided they wanted to buy both pieces. They had to leave to borrow a truck, which they did--but the truck didn't come with any tie-straps, or blankets, or nothin'. No blankets meant you didn't exactly want to lay these down and risk getting them scratched up on the bed of the truck. No tie straps meant they (especially the chest of drawers), were more than a little unstable. I, unfortunately, didn't have a thing to offer them for rope or anything--I use a minivan to haul my stuff around!

Well, they put both pieces upright into the back of the truck. , and they were sure they would be fine--and off they drove. About 10 minutes later, I got a call from my neighbor on the corner.

Him: "Did you sell those black pieces that were in your garage?"
Me: "Yes."
Him: "Well, I didn't see exactly what happened...but they didn't make it around my corner. I heard the crash."
Me: "Augghh!!"

(That's the condensed conversation.)

We both agree that the chest of drawers had to have flipped out of the truck. The couple never called me to tell me what happened. I'm not sure what I could have/should have/would have done if they had. I *am* glad I never saw the destruction myself--that would have been too painful after all my hard work! I can only hope that MAYBE it was salvageable (although my friend who heard the crash has doubts that it could be), and I definitely hope that the dresser survived unscathed.

But I feel bad for them!

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Friday, July 30, 2010

It's not easy being green...

In fact, it's sometimes just plain horrifying! That's what I thought when I first saw this buffet at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago...

What do you think?

Don't you just love that lime green finish, and the peeling varnish on the top? Well, I didn't. I did love the pretty curve in the center, and the carved legs and panel on the wide top drawer.

First item of business was to strip the top down to bare wood. This was my first trial of my new orbital sander, and I was in love!! Power tools...where have you been all my life?? Anyway, the big surprise was that there was CHERRY wood underneath! What a nice surprise! The drawers were all cherry, too--which I discovered after stripping out the orange and green 60s wallpaper! (I so wish I had taken a picture of that!)

This buffet sat around in partial nakedness while I worked on other projects. Last week, though, a lady visited my garage to look at another piece I had for sale, and cupid struck! She fell in love with Kermit (what else do you call a green buffet?).

She wanted a classic black with a wood top. Here are the results:

The bottom got painted flat black, then I glazed it with burnt umber to give it a more "aged" appearance. I finished it with several coats of hand-rubbed satin polyacrylic.

The carvings on the sides I sanded out with my Dremel--that's a tool I have owned for years, but it's been under-appreciated until now!

I didn't do too much other distressing, other than in the carvings. I wanted them to take center stage!

The lady wanted a fairly dark top, but with some hint of the red from the cherry wood showing through. I put on a walnut stain, and I was amazed at how quick it was soaking up the color! I was wiping it off about as fast as I was putting it on, but I think I ended up with pretty good results.

I wish my photography skills were better! Originally we had talked about the center panel being stained like the top, but that didn't look right. You see, these pressed panels are made out of a softer wood (like pine), and it took the stain differently than the top. It just looked dull. So I ended up painting it black and then sanding out the details like I did on the legs.

Here's one more gratuitous "after" shot!

I hope Kermit is happy in his new home!

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Chairs for the Farmhouse Table!

A couple of weeks ago I finished and sold my Pseudo-Farmhouse Table. The sweet lady who bought it asked me to finish three of her mis-matched chairs to coordinate with the table. Yay! But she really wanted to bring her total of chairs up to eight, so I have been watching DI and for suitable chairs for her. As of today, I have finished six chairs for her, and the other two are waiting in my garage! The last two are arm chairs with padded seats, and I still need to get fabric for the new seat covers.

Here are some BEFORE pictures of the table and chairs!

These two chairs belonged to my friend originally. She bought them at an antique store several years ago.

The chair on the left is definitely a "modern" chair, but we figured once it was painted, distressed, and glazed, it would fit right in! The chair on the right is also a true antique--it has a date on the bottom of 1884!! We decided it would be a shame to paint this one, but it needed a lot of work (obviously). Besides a broken arm and back, a dog had chewed one of the front corners!

I forgot to take a picture of these chairs until I had started priming them! (I am a lousy photographer.) I bought two of these off of We both thought they would be a great addition to the "collection."

And here are some pictures of the beautiful AFTER:

Here is one of the chairs in closer detail. All of them were painted, then distressed and then glazed with walnut stain to match the table. It's hard to see in the picture, but the two antique chairs had pretty pressed backs, but they had almost worn away with time. Distressing and glazing them makes them stand out again.

She also has a beautiful buffet, but its back was broken about six years ago. She had the great idea to replace the back with beadboard, painted and glazed to match the chairs and table. It looks fabulous, and ties in so well now!

And here's a picture of the 1884 antique chair, all beautiful again! I can't take credit for this one! When it comes to the really hard jobs, I call on my good friend Michael to pull them off for me. He's AMAZING! There was a chunk missing from the right arm, but he fitted another piece of wood in there so you'll never know unless you go looking for it. He sanded down both of the front corners. He took the whole thing apart, cleaned out the old glue, and then put it all back together again good as new! It's GORGEOUS!

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pink Chandelier

My darling daughter fell in love with some of the painted chandeliers we've seen. I, however, was not in love with a $45 price tag--especially for something I couldn't be sure worked! But when I found a brassy $6 chandelier at the DI, I thought it was worth the risk.

Here's what her bedroom light looked like BEFORE:

Totally boring! Let's ignore the fact that the rest of the bedrooms in the house still have the same light fixtures.

...and now?

Completely fabulous! Love that pink spray paint. ;-)
I think it may be her favorite thing in the room!

And the best part? I installed it myself, and it worked on the FIRST TRY!

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When I got to re-decorate (can you call it re-decorating when it's never been decorated before?), I knew I wanted a bench of some sort at the end of the bed. I couldn't BELIEVE how expensive benches were at furniture stores! $250 would have been cheap!

Thanks to the Internet, I found some transformations of coffee tables into benches. I found a coffee table on that had pretty legs, and I talked the seller down from $30 to $15. At first I was going to paint it (that's always easier), but I had a serious paint mishap that meant I had to strip the whole thing anyway! After going through all that work, I decided to stain it the same as the tops of my dresser and chest of drawers. The fabric was a red-tag clearance from JoAnn's. The most expensive part was the green foam for the top!

A couple of months later, I found this coffee table for FREE on It was long and narrow, like the first one, and it had pretty details on the legs. I painted it white and distressed it. The handle is purely decorative. I painted it with ORB spray paint, followed by a light spray of silver--I think it gives an aged-pewter type look. I didn't splurge in as heavy of foam for this one, and the fabric came from a tablecloth I found at Savers.

Of course, the easiest benches to transform are the ones that start out as benches! This one I found for $5 at a garage sale. The legs needed to be tightened, but there was nothing much else wrong with it. I used a $2 can of "oops" paint on it, followed by a black glaze. Someday I would like to have benches at my table--it just seems simpler than trying to keep 3 chairs on each side neat. Unfortunately, I need something longer than 48". Maybe someday I will try to build my own!

Benches. Gotta love 'em!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cricut Love

I withstood the charm of the Cricut for a long time...until I started refurbishing furniture! Then I had all sorts of fun ideas for stencils I could do. I borrowed a friend's machine for my first foray into stencil-making, but eventually I found a really good deal for a used Cricut on eBay...and the best thing was, the seller lived in Hooper! I asked her if I could pick up the machine if I won, an she said "yes." That saved me about $20 in shipping charges.

Now that I have my own Cricut, I have used it to make stencils for these bar stools and this coffee table and this desk. But I think my favorite use was for this twin headboard/footboard set! I bought it for $2.50 at a Habitat for Humanity Re-Store sale.

I love birds! I'm glad I still have friends close by that I can borrow more cartridges from!